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In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child

Sacha’s<25: Learning about Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales has never been easier or more fun with this Project Pack product from In the Hands of a Child.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money?10  stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 8 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

We received Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child. This is geared for children in Kindergarten to 4th grade.  I chose to use it with my 4 and 6 year olds.

What is a Project Pack:

A Project Pack contains both the activities and the lesson plans or research guide needed to complete the activities.  Students aren’t just reading about a topic, but “doing” along the way as well!

Read more about What Lapbooking is here.

Our Experience:

I found it very easy to download this specific product and get started.  While I don’t know that I would always print out the entire Project Pack in the future I decided to do it this time.  I printed out the entire pack and bound it with my binding machine.  I found this to be an easy way to see what it was all about and to be able to flip back and forth between sections.

Other than the downloadable Project Pack there are a few other things that you need to get started:

  • File folders
  • colored paper and cardstock
  • tape
  • glue
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • items to color with-crayons, colored pencils or markers
  • Pencil

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Once I had the Project Pack printed and bound it was time to get started reading and figuring out what I had to do to get started.  What I found upon opening the pages what the Table of Contents page, a Planning Guide (with a suggested 7 day schedule), a related reading page (with book suggestions to check out from the library), Instructions for the 20 Activities, How to page on making the base of the lapbook, Research guide-which gives you what to teach in each lesson, as well as the printables for each of the activities.

It is suggested that if you have a group of younger children that you cut out all the graphics ahead of time.  If I was using this with a coop group of younger elementary students I would definitely do this!  Since I was just working with my 2 girls I decided I would print out just the printable pages we needed each day to go along with the lesson.  Once we were done with that portion of the activities for the day I stored each girls papers in their own gallon sized ziplock bag.  My 4 year old just did the gluing while my 6 year old was able to do more of the cutting and gluing by herself.  While we worked on the activities I would read what they said and reinforce what we had just read in the research guide prior to starting the activity. We had the choice of using printables where your student could copy over the text for handwriting practice or everything was just printed out for you and all you did was cut, assemble and paste.  I started Faith out with copying the text but we decided it was too little for her and ended up just using the printed out option.

We chose not to do all of the vocabulary words, there were a lot of them and I didn’t feel that they were necessary for my 1st grader.  However, I was glad to see that they were in there for older students.

Hands of a Child Project Pack

My girls enjoyed doing the activities but they weren’t begging for more.  I ended up splitting the unit up over more than just the 7 days.  I couldn’t hold their attention that long to cover everything suggested for one day.

Faith loved the drawing portion of the activities.  She sat for hours (literally) drawing all kinds of dolphins from one of the recommended books!

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What I liked:

  • I liked the information that it came with on each of the topics presented.  You could learn a lot about the subject without needing other resources.  Of course, we love reading books and loved going through the provided book list and checking books out from our library to supplement.
  • I like that there is a lot of depth to the unit.  It can easily be adapted to a Kindergardener by not doing all of the activities and that there is enough for a 4th grader as well!
  • There wasn’t a lot of extra work for me to do to teach a unit on this topic.  Well worth the money to have it all put together in one place for me.  I didn’t have to search for more information!

What I didn’t like:

  • The font used for the dotted line letters has the letter e starting in a weird place.  Faith noticed it and it bugged her! Also the font size was really too small for a Kindergarden or a first grader to trace over easily.  And too many words.  We ended up choosing to just cut and paste and not copy over the writing.  I wish that there was another option for font size so Faith could have written more of it.  
  • We found an error and therefore were missing one of the parts of the dolphin that we needed.

To sum it up: In the Hands of a Child has over 450 different lap books  available.  I would definitely suggest taking a look at their website to see all the different topics for various ages they have available.  We will be using more from this company to add some variety to our school year!

 

The important information:

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Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Lapbook

Order from: In the Hands of a Child

Price: normally $12.  Currently it is just $5!!!!!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew reviewed many different options of lapbooks and project packs for all different ages and subjects!

 

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Fascinating World of Birds DVD: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Fascinating World of Birds DVD: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25: An fun, educational 45 minute DVD about the world of birds for all ages to enjoy including a free downloadable lesson plan.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 10 stars
Did it help us learn? 10 stars
Is it worth the money? 10 stars
Is it useful to me? 10 stars
Practicality- 10 stars
Quality- 10 stars
Kid Rating- 10 stars

What it is:

We received the Fascinating World of Birds DVD from BrainFood Learning for review. I have heard great things about the DVDs from this company.  However, I tend to be a cheapskate when it comes to purchasing DVDs.  I think Netflix has made me this way.  Before I go on with my review I want to tell you that without a doubt we will be purchasing other DVDs!  These are wonderfully produced DVD with beautiful pictures and video as well as a wealth of information presented in a fun way!

Do you or your kids ever wonder how a robin finds a worm? Or why ostriches eat rocks?  Find the answers out to these questions and many more. Birds featured in this video include ostrich, penguin, goose, owl, hummingbird, woodpecker, macaw, pelican, American Robin, and eagle.

Fascinating world of Birds

Our Experience:

I had mainly wanted this Bird DVD to review with my 6 year old.  She has been interested in birds and I thought this would be a perfect way to spark her curiosity a little more.  I had to laugh when I put the DVD on and started watching it with her, within a few minutes I had not only my 6 year old but all of my other kids (spanning from 4-13) sitting in the room watching it as well!  This was a great DVD enjoyed by all of us!

I had walked out of the living room and into the kitchen where I could still hear the DVD while I grabbed a quick drink.  I loved hearing my 2 youngest girls (4 and 6) yelling out the answers to the quiz portion of the program.  It was so cute to hear their enthusiasm as well as their knowledge that they had gained from watching the DVD.

Review quiz screen Fascinating world of birds

It has sparked such an interest that we went out to Walmart and bought 2 bird feeders as well as a bird bath.  We have all really enjoyed watching the birds in the back yard!  My daughter also found that she was really interested in penguins from watching the DVD.  She has wanted to read books from the library to find out more about them! Even cooler was that we had an American Robin build a nest right where we could watch from our house.  The girls knew a lot from the DVD about the robin and her babies and we got to watch them grow up!

So I call this DVD a huge success in our house!  The kids learned more about birds and it sparked a real interest to learn more about them!  Thanks, Brainfood Learning!

The only problem we have now is deciding between one of their other videos, Mammals or Insects!

I just received the link in my email today for the free lesson plan download.  It looks great!  I wish it had been ready a few weeks ago. However, that won’t stop me!  I am planning to pull the DVD out again in the next couple months and I will include some of the lesson plan ideas when we watch it! You can view the free lesson plan PDF here.

What I liked:

  • Great images and videos of birds!
  • Super educational but so fun to watch at the same time.  I am not sure my kids knew they were learning while they were watching!!!!
  • I liked the variety between adult and older child voice to intro new birds and vocabulary words!
  • The free lesson plan is a great bonus to this DVD!

What I didn’t like:

  • There isn’t anything!

To sum it up: This video is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about birds or to spark an interest in learning more about birds.  Perfect for all ages but I would highly recommend it for prek-6th grade. Make sure to check out the free lesson plan to complement the DVD!

 

The important information:

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Fascinating World of Birds DVD

Order from:  BrainFood Learning

Price: $14.99

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

 

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Science Naturally: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Science Naturally: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25: A unique one minute mystery book recommended for ages 8-12 which has the reader use their science knowledge and critical thinking skills to solve the 65 mysteries.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 9 stars
Did it help us learn? 9 stars
Is it worth the money? 9 stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality-10  stars
Quality- 9 stars
Kid Rating- 10 stars

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We received One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! from Science Naturally to review.  I was super excited to get to review this since I loved listening to short mystery stories as a kid and trying to figure them out!  I was expecting that these would be the “who dunnit” type stories that I had heard as a kid.  I don’t know if you are familiar with those kind but these were not that.  However, they are really great too!

Here is an explanation from their website:

These mysteries have a clever twist—you have to be a super sleuth, tapping into your science wisdom and critical thinking skills to solve them. Each story takes just one minute to read and challenges your knowledge in a variety of science disciplines.

I handed this book over to my kids to take a look at.  I had to laugh because when I went searching for the book about a week later my 13 year old son had taken it to read.  He was choosing to read these minute mysteries at night before going to bed instead of some of the other stuff he had been reading.  When I asked my kids if they liked it the response I got was, “Matthew wouldn’t let us have a turn with the book!”  

Click here to read 3 sample stories and see why my kids didn’t want to share the book.

When Joy (11) finally got a chance to read the book she really enjoyed it.  She felt she wasn’t very good at solving the mysteries but she loved reading them.

These one page mysteries with the answer solution following on the backside of each page are written by the father daughter team of Eric and Natalie Yoder.  This book is the second Science Mystery book they have written and they have also written some One Minute Math Mysteries.

What I liked:

  • Educational aspect…they are learning scientific principles while having fun reading and solving mysteries.
  • The stories are short and don’t take a lot of time to read.
  • These would be great to read out loud and discuss with your kids…one story each day…good luck at keeping it to just one story : )
  • These are real life type mysteries which are solved by applying science…how would bugs end up inside a closed bag of apples, how to tell raw from boiled eggs, why some mornings are so much cooler than others, etc.

What I didn’t like:

  • Nothing to say here…we were really happy with this product!

To sum it up: This book and the others that this father daughter team have written would be just perfect for incorporating learning into your summer, without your kids even realizing it!  This is a really fun book to read with your kids or to have them read by themselves.  Highly recommended and check out below for a special offer on purchasing some of their other books as well!

 

The important information:

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One Minute Mysteries: 65 More Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!

Eric Yoder and Natalie Yoder, January 2013
Ages 8-12, 8.5” x 5.5”, 180 pages,
Paperback ISBN 10: 1-9384920-0-5
E-Book ISBN 10: 1-9384920-1-3

Order from: Science Naturally

Price: $9.95

Please note this special coupon code—enter 3SPEC to purchase any 3 books on the website for $19.95 plus $2.95 shipping. (a $12.90 savings)

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

 

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Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Sacha’s<25: A wonderful science curriculum focusing on the study of Land Animals which uses a variety of methods to instill information and the joy of learning.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  10 stars
Did it help us learn? 10 stars
Is it worth the money? 10 stars
Is it useful to me? 10 stars
Practicality- 10 stars
Quality- 10 stars
Kid Rating- 10 stars

We received Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day Textbook and Regular Notebooking Journal for review from  Apologia Educational Ministries.  These products come from their Young Explorers Series for elementary grade students suggested for K-6th grade use. This third book in the zoology series takes students on a safari through jungles, deserts, forests, farms, and even their own backyard to explore, examine and enjoy the enchanting creatures God designed to inhabit the terrain.

The Notebooking Journal includes a variety of activities including full-color mini-books, additional fun experiments, crosswords, and supplementary materials, such as animal stickers for the Map It activities.  We have found that these notebooking journals really add an extra layer of learning and retention to the textbooks.  We have used these notebooking journals in the past for other Apologia science books and the kids have loved them. There is such a wide variety of activities to really hold their attention and keep them from getting bored doing the same thing over and over.

These journals also include a suggested schedule to help you know what to do when.  We found the schedule to be helpful in knowing what to accomplish on a weekly/bi-weekly schedule.  However, all the reading and work was divided over 2 days each week.  We found that to be a lot of work at times.  We liked to know what to get done in a week but we usually spread it out over 3-4 days during the week.  You could probably do it over 2 with upper elementary students but my kindergartener found it really hard to still and focus for that long in just 2 sessions.

Above Andrew working on a mini book.  We tended to do most of our science reading and journal work on our couch or floor in the family room.  The day this picture was taken my 2 little girls had built a huge fort in the room…which is why you see the white sheet behind him!

The regular notebooking journal is suggested for students who are able to write, take notes and are upper elementary level.  The Junior version of the journal includes age appropriate activities for your child including coloring pages, easy and fun science experiments, full-color mini-books, easier vocabulary exercises, and supplementary materials, such as animal stickers for the Map It activities.

We would usually read the textbook 2-4 times a week.  It’s great that we can be that flexible with it!  I would read until I felt the kids were getting a bit antsy or end when there seemed to be a good place to stop.  Most of the time my kindergartener would beg that I just read a little bit more…”one more section, please?”  We would plan to have the chapter done during the 2 week period.

After we read a bit in the book my 3rd grader would do some work in the notebooking journal.  I chose the upper elementary level for him.  He is a really good writer and has the attention span for some of the harder activities and note taking that is involved in this journal.  He used the early elementary one last year when we did Apologia’s Human Anatomy book.  (Can you tell we love Apologia’s science curriculum?  Well in case you can’t…let me tell you that we have done Botany, Astronomy, Human Anatomy and now are working through Zoology 3!)  We highly recommend them to everyone we meet!

This science curriculum might be different than what you are used to!  Apologia really gives parents and their children time to bond.  Sit on the couch and spend time cuddling and reading.  Once you are done there are suggested questions in the text to have your children narrate back to you about what you just read together.  Once you do that you can work together on some of the notebooking journal activities or you might just send them off to see what they can do by themselves in the journal.  I think it is a great way to build some independence in your student once they are upper elementary age.

We were easily able to cover a chapter every 2 weeks.  I have to share one of the cutest/most memorable things that happened while we were learning about bears. Faith (6) was over at a friend’s house and she narrated a story to a 12 year old who wrote it all down for her.  Then Faith illustrated the book.  In the middle of the story there is a portion about bears.  We had just read this information earlier in the week about what to do and not do when you find a bear and what might happen if you feed it.  I thought it was so cute that it ended up in her story!  Here’s a photo of the page from her story:

What I liked:

  • It is written in a conversational style…very interesting to read.
  • It is super flexible in how you use it and how much you cover in a given sitting.
  • We have been able to use this curriculum with multiple ages.  My 3 year old loves to sit in and listen with my kindergartener and 3rd grader.  In fact, my 6th and 7th graders listen in every time as well!
  • We really like the notebooking journals and highly suggest you purchase one for each of your children using the curriculum.  We have done other books in the series without the journals (simply because they didn’t exist at the time).  We really prefer doing the journals with the textbooks!!!!!
  • This curriculum uses different ways to learn and covers more than just “science”.  The Map-It portion really helps to cover basic geography.

What I didn’t like:

  • I really can’t think of anything.  I guess it might bother some that it is scheduled out for 24 weeks.  This seems to be a weird amount of time since most of us do 36 week school years.  Hard to complete another full book in the series in another 12 weeks.
  • I would have liked the Notebooking Journal to come with a wall map for the Map-It portion.  I wasn’t sure how big of a map I would need to get to put the animal stickers in the right places.

To sum it up: If you are looking for a curriculum that spends 24 weeks looking in depth at Land Animals (or another topic Apologia covers) this is a wonderful curriculum.  You will get lots of cuddle time and great learning with your children.  We HIGHLY recommend this to you!  Head on over the Apologia’s Website to look at samples of this curriculum!

 

The important information:

Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day

Price: 

Textbook–$39.00
Regular Notebooking Journal–$24.00
Junior Notebooking Journal–$24.00

Order from: Apologia Educational Ministries

 

To read other Schoolhouse Crew reviews of this product click here. 

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Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge through the Schoolhouse REview Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.

Discovery Scope: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Discovery Scope: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Discovery Scope: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25:  Discovery Scope is a handheld, wide-field microscope with special features for viewing a hidden world of living things. Great for all ages!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  10 stars
Did it help us learn?  10 stars
Is it worth the money?  8 stars
Is it useful to me?  10 stars
Practicality-  10 stars
Quality-  10 stars
Kid Rating-  10 stars

From the Discovery Scope Website:

Discovery Scope is an inexpensive, exceptionally durable viewing system for exploring small things. Its 1 inch focal length lens produces beautiful wide field, high resolution views of insects, worms, tiny plants and flowers as well as rocks, sand samples, and crystals. Special chambers and holders are provided for viewing both terrestrial and aquatic organisms.

Kids love exploring with discovery scope, but so do adults, It is hand-held, uses available light…the perfect tool for classrooms and field trips.

After many years of teaching, the late Jim Harvey, Sr. and his teaching partner Bruce Russell knew there had to be a better alternative to the classic microscope. They wanted to be able to look at things that you don’t have to put on a slide, but instead could view in its somewhat real environment. One of the greatest attributes of the scope is being able to reintroduce the organism back to nature. You don’t have to be a biologist or geologist to begin to have fun with the scope.

Our Experience:

We were beyond thrilled to find out that we were chosen to review this item.  Discovery Scope sent out the Discovery Scope basic kit.  I told my kids that we couldn’t open the box until they had finished some other things.  Boy were they motivated.  It wasn’t long before they were done with their work so they could get the Discovery Scope out. It came mailed in a cardboard box and everything within was packed into a “Ziplock” plastic container.  What a great way to store it!  It came with everything we needed to get started and it was simple to figure out how to use. Below are two different views of the scope. The focus tube slides in and out of the body to put the specimen in focus.  You clamp the specimen to the clamp tool.  There are other attachments for this piece including a clear box, 2 small bags and a quick slide.  We loved the clear box.  The kids put a huge beetle in the box and could twist it around and see all different angles of it.  Best thing was that he was alive!  They were able to release him back into nature when they were done!  They were able to put pond water into a small ziplock bag (which was included) and see all the cool things in it!  

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Once we got the hang of it and saw all the cool things we could look at with it we decided to try to use my iPhone to take pictures of what we saw.  It takes a little bit of doing but with 4-5 hands we were able to do it!

Joy’s (10) Experience:

“I loved using this microscope!  It magnifies things so well, so well that you can easily see the tiniest details!  Some of the things I magnified were: A beetle, a piece of grass, the top of an acorn, and a flower.  It is so cool seeing nature up close.”

Matthew’s (12) Experience:

“I liked it because it is an easy way to look into God’s nature.  Also, I was able to look at lots of awesome stuff like a stag beetle, dandelions, and pond water.  I think it is a cool idea how they made it…the design is great!”

Andrew’s (8) Experience:

“I really liked looking at sticks with it.  It was really easy to use.”

Faith’s (5) Experience:

“My brother basically hogged it a lot, but once he let me use it I really liked it.  I hope I get more time with it when my brother is busy with school!”

 

What I liked:

  • Ease of use.  Within just a couple minutes we were out in the yard looking at things with it!
  • Super sturdy and child friendly.
  • Portable.  This has gone over to a few different friends’ houses to “play” with!
  • All ages were able to enjoy using it.
  • Easy to pass around and enjoy what someone else has found and seen up close!

What I didn’t like:

  • It was hard to get my kids to do other things while they are using it!  They have really enjoyed seeing God’s creation more up close!

To sum it up: The coolest, easy to use, microscope which allows children as young as 3 to view even live organisms and return them to nature.-MUST HAVE!

 

The important information:

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Order from: Discovery Scope- http://www.discoveryscope.com/

Price: $40+shipping. ****Please note they are adding a cheaper shipping rate–please call and ask for the priority shipping rate if you do not see it on their website yet.

To read other Schoolhouse Crew reviews of this product click here.

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Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.